When critics talk about women being the future of rock music, they’re usually referring to white ladies who sing indie rock. But women’s voices and feminine influences are also making a huge impact on alternative rock, not least, the newest entry on my desk – Rasha Jay. What makes Rasha unique? She’s a black lady taking many of her cues from the blues, and infusing into her incendiary alt-rock motifs.
the small town of Owings, Maryland, Rasha brings her blend of distortion-heavy guitars and bass line-forward tracks to create a sound that’s an updated rock take on lifting the soul of the blues into a state of euphoria. She sings with an appealing raspy power, throwing around attitude, as she breezes through her songs stocked with grit and emotion.
A good place to start understanding Rasha Jay’s visceral style, is on her 2016 EP “Cicada”. This recording is virtually floating in musical references from a myriad of rock and blues eras. Rasha works out her personal narratives all over this EP, invoking a fire and spirit that many of her contemporaries seem a little afraid to tap into.
On it Rasha Jay seems hell-bent on showing that this is literally how women – and especially black women – can rock. “Cicada” plays like a kind of musical revue, with nods at muscular rock, old-school blues, and vintage soul, all blended with alternative swagger.
Rasha has got the kind of forceful vocals and tonal deftness that forces a listener to sit up and take notice, but it’s the raw nature of her performances and her biting, candid lyrics that continually leave us wondering what she’ll sing next. All of which brings us to Rasha Jay’s latest track, “Red Coat”, taken from her forthcoming album, “High Drive”.
The new single encompasses the kind of sonic depth that most modern records lack. “I wrapped my love in a red coat, can’t see the blood flow,” sings Rasha. This is what music should sound like: honest, genre-bending and full of personality.
It’s her declaration of rebirth — stronger and smarter than ever before. Rasha Jay is an undeniable lyricist – her best musical quality, alongside her smoky rasp of course. Rasha’s soulful voice aches with the anger of a misleading relationship, but it also screams the triumph of self-discovery discovery and self-determination.
Nothing is more compelling than an artist that believes in themselves. And that sentiment shines through brightly here. It displays the kind rock posturing that separates Rasha from her pop contemporaries and all those cast into the catch-all alternative category.
What intoxicates about “Red Coat” is that the record shows that you don’t have to crumble when your desires are unfulfilled. Instead, you have to fight and figure out how to survive it. Rasha sings with the instincts of someone who has been singing for many years.
If you’re sick of all the synthesized electronic voiced pop songs these days, get this track. Rasha Jay will restore your faith that there are still great emerging artists every now and then.